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Long Time Webmaster, My NIGHTMARE With IPB.


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#1 garyopa

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:26 PM

Note: This is the second time i post this. I posted in the appropriate section and yet someone felt the need to delete or unapproved my original post. As a paying customer, I believe I have every right to post my opinions of the product i spent my hard earned money on. If you still feel the need to use your uber l33t mod powers, the least you can do is post and tell one of your own paying customers why this kind of material is not allowed here. There's nothing in the forum rules that states that I am not allowed to do this although I'm sure you wouldn't want people reading this. :whistle:

Hello,

I just felt like chiming in to give everyone some thoughts on my recent move to IPB. I am a long time webmaster going back to the early 90's. I have had many websites and many message boards. I can still fondly remember my first commercial forum software purchased, ultimate BB. I then moved to vbulletin during the 1.x-2.x transition. I went through many painful issues with vbulletin during my time with them. Most of which are already well documented.

After selling and gifting my past sites and being left website free for two years, i decided to create a small ad-free, not for profit site in August of 2009. After a few months of using phpbb, i had heard so many people clamoring over the latest rendition of IPB. Most people i spoke with insisted that IPB had more features, was more secure and would help increase my search engine pagerank. I checked things over and noticed there was a conversion available for a "painless" phpbb to IPB conversion. IPB was also promoting the fact that they had their own portal that comes standard with the software at no extra cost. I took the plunge and purchased the software for my site.

The install and conversion went smooth at first. However, i quickly began to notice some quirks. First, I will address the portal. It's garbage.
I run a website with zero standard front end sofware. I relied on a portal to give me some resemblance of a main page. I previously used a third party portal created for phpbb to syndicate any news to it along with having a simple links box and some custom boxes that had some html and php. The IPB portal is incapable of even allowing something as simple as create a custom portal block resulting in one of our highlight features of our previous portal to be AWOL. For people who use forum portals for their main page, this is completely unforgivable.

Let's move onto the conversion. I followed all of the directions as it said in the instructions. Forced a recount, cleared cache etc. Everything, at least according to the converter was imported just fine. I checked some of the pages before i relaunched the site using IPB and everything seemed just fine. Just three weeks ago i received a pm on my forum that a number of older threads were appearing blank or had various issues. Let's get into these issues. I found hundreds of older posts that had zero content in them. Luckily all i had to do was hit the edit button and resubmit them and the content would appear. Now that left me with the daunting task of finding all of the weird posts. This took me 6 days alone just to go through my news page and checking threads one by one. I am still going through the other forum sections. I also found a number of posts with odd <!--- w ---> <!--- m ---> <!--- e ---> tags. The converter also utterly failed to convert any [ list ] tags properly. They tend to look something like this [*2pdjh8d] with random numbers and letters in them.There are also posts which have spanish or latin chars also had some odd characters replaced. I have yet to upgrade my forum to the latest 3.13 and 4 because of fear i may lose those posts that i have yet to find. 'd like to thank the IPB for the massive headache they have left me with.

Let's move on to SEO. This seems to be quite a hot debate. I have and can provide more than enough proof that even with their redirect scripts provided in the converter, my google pagerank has suffered due to the move. SEO alone was the reason why i purchased IPB. I wanted to take the site to the next level and begin to rake in users via google, bing, yahoo etc. Nothing could be further from the case now. I hate to sound hardheaded but as far as I'm concerned, there is no SEO in IPB and there's nothing anyone can say that would convince me otherwise.

Features; This is another issue i have some serious problems with. I will say, this facet is of my own fault. I should have read through the feature list or used a demo before purchasing. My site is run as a community. Forum members can submit posts to be moved to the news. Unfortunately, IPB does not allow me to lock individual posts. This essentially allows anyone that has submitted news to edit their posts after we move them. While we are always selective in submitting news by trusted members, this is always something I now need to keep in the back of my head before approving a news submission. IPB also does not have a thread copy feature. I used this at times. It's amazing that such an expensive piece of software does not have a feature that an free "inferior" piece of software has had for a while now.

Security. I never had a security issue with Phpbb. Phpbb openly touts their security record for phpbb3 via secunia and they also have a vbulletin 4 page. Oddly, there's nothing publicly available for IPB on secunia or anywhere on invisionpower.com. While it doesn't bother me, i just find it amusing that there is no concrete security information on IPB.

In the end, i would never recommend IPB for another webmaster regardless of whether he is currently using phpbb or not. I was able to do everything i could hope for with free open source software and some third party addons. Those things cost me nothing; just a little bit more of my time. If you have enough time to spare to install IPB on your own, you can install phpbb and some simple addons to get the same effect. You can then take that money you just saved and buy yourself something nice. If i could go back without losing access to newly created links that are now floating around the net and sparing my forum members another roller coaster ride then i would gladly go back to Phpbb. I would like to thank IPB for wasting my spare time for the last few days in going through my forum to clean up the mess their converter left me.
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#2 Panupat

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:51 PM

I'm sorry to hear that. I converted from phpBB too, but in my case I didn't have much problem, just some annoyance here and there.

In my case, I had a lot of members' game review with lots of pictures. IPB somehow came with a limit to the image per post, so it only rendered 5 images and left the rest as links. I tried to reconfig and recache, but they're still links. Clicking edit and re-save the post does solve the problem. And as you said it would have been a tremendous amount of work. So I submit a support ticket and the staff took care of the problem for me in less than a day :)

Today I'm very happy with my forum and gallery. Although I can't say the same with IP.Content.

#3 garyopa

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 11:05 PM

I'm sorry to hear that. I converted from phpBB too, but in my case I didn't have much problem, just some annoyance here and there.

In my case, I had a lot of members' game review with lots of pictures. IPB somehow came with a limit to the image per post, so it only rendered 5 images and left the rest as links. I tried to reconfig and recache, but they're still links. Clicking edit and re-save the post does solve the problem. And as you said it would have been a tremendous amount of work. So I submit a support ticket and the staff took care of the problem for me in less than a day :)

Today I'm very happy with my forum and gallery. Although I can't say the same with IP.Content.


I guess you can consider yourself lucky. In my case, it's not like i can try the converter again. It's been nearly 4 months since we relaunched the site. Even if i didn't have this problem, i don't see what all of the hype is for IPB. In my opinion, IPB's SEO is just pure fiction and they aren't even up to feature parity with phpbb.

#4 ᴡᴅツ

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 11:31 PM

  • I don't like the portal either. IP.Content, however, kicks it ass 100x and then some. You should try it out.
  • Yes, the converter possibly had an issue. Did you know IPS offers conversion service? And did you also know as a paying customer, you could have submitted a ticket for them to fix this issue?
  • SEO would obviously drop after the move. You simply can't compare X time (before IPB) and Y time (shortly after IPB). You need to wait to do a correlation.
  • Concerning features, you didn't mention any except a minor setting which you neglected to look into accurately. IP.Content allows users to submit data to the article system. You can also disable the edit feature in forum and in IP.Content, even make it time based. You can also create multiple databases to have your community submit content to.
It seems the converter issue blew your fuse and now you're attempting at strawman arguments.

:)

IPB's SEO is just pure fiction and they aren't even up to feature parity with phpbb.


I like your sense of humor. :)
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Feature consistency across IP.Downloads and IP.Board for IP.Content

 

 

IPS, please look at the topics I've created regarding feature suggestions. There still are issues that haven't been addressed, as noted above, and the following, as well as this.


#5 garyopa

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 11:57 PM

  • I don't like the portal either. IP.Content, however, kicks it ass 100x and then some. You should try it out.
  • Yes, the converter possibly had an issue. Did you know IPS offers conversion service? And did you also know as a paying customer, you could have submitted a ticket for them to fix this issue?
  • SEO would obviously drop after the move. You simply can't compare X time (before IPB) and Y time (shortly after IPB). You need to wait to do a correlation.
  • Concerning features, you didn't mention any except a minor setting which you neglected to look into accurately. IP.Content allows users to submit data to the article system. You can also disable the edit feature in forum and in IP.Content, even make it time based. You can also create multiple databases to have your community submit content to.
It seems the converter issue blew your fuse and now you're attempting at strawman arguments.

:)



I like your sense of humor. :)


1. I am aware about IP Content. Unfortunately, the chances of me buying another Invision application at this point is non existent. While i am no web n00b, there seems to be quite a few people here with complaints that IP Content is overly complicated. Not the thing that i need to deal with at the moment

2. Yes, they offer a conversion for more money. The converter they offer customers should have run correctly the first time. I also mentioned that the errors were found months later. It's not like i can re-run the converter right now. Who knows what it would do to the site. I don't want to sound like a massive jerk but i have just put in countless days of fixing up my forum and I'm still not done; I wouldn't even let IPB rep touch my site if they offered to fix things right now. The site has been set back enough and it doesn't need to be a guinea pig for another pet project let alone to forward a commercial venture for someone else. These types of things should be checked and sorted before they are sold to customers. After all, the converter is also part of their commercial package deal to lure users of other forum software into buying their product. I think what really irritates me is that is that i paid money for what is supposed to be a great piece of software that quickly turned into a quagmire.

As i mentioned earlier, If i could easily switch back to phpbb painlessly without affecting links that have been distributed on the net, and with little impact to my forum members, i would gladly do it.

3. Sure you can. The site has been converted for long enough. referrals from search engines have tanked. The thing is, IPB advertises itself as SEO ready.

4. Have you used phpbb3 lately? Don't knock it until you try it. It may not have any fancy ajax actions but it's actually quite good and the team have made big strides as of late. Never had a problem with it and i was the type of person a few years ago that would steer people clear of scripts the like of phpbb. Never had a major problem with it. As i mentioned earlier, they even have features that one would consider basic. Basic features that IPB still doesn't have.
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#6 Lindy

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 12:03 AM

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. I'm unsure what happened to your original topic, but we do not typically make habit of just removing feedback unless it is unconstructive / ranting in nature.

We understand, like everything else in life, we're not a be-all solution for everyone. I'm sorry that your expectations were not met.

With that said, I was expecting to find several tickets on your account after a post like this, but was disappointed to find zero. As mentioned, we do have a conversion service and we would have assisted with your issues (with or without the fee.) You never gave us a chance and simply assumed the issue was faulty software. I apologize if you were led to believe we couldn't be of assistance, because... we could have helped. :)

Your SEO issue was addressed by another poster. You're not comparing apples to apples.

In regards to your feature issue - there are ways to accomplish what you're asking, such as with edit timeouts. Again, had you asked for assistance at some point, we could have assisted and been happy to do so (still would.)

You mentioned not trying the demo. We always recommend trying the software for yourself to see if it meets your needs. Again, it's impossible to build a product that can universally meet everyone's needs - but in this particular case, I believe we could have (and still can) helped you better understand the software and what you're trying to accomplish.

We always welcome you to contact us with any issues, from installation to end-use. We can't help you if we don't know there's a problem. :)

Thank you again for your feedback.
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#7 el canadiano

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 12:15 AM

1. I am aware about IP Content. Unfortunately, the chances of me buying another Invision application at this point is non existent. While i am no web n00b, there seems to be quite a few people here with complaints that IP Content is overly complicated. Not the thing that i need to deal with at the moment

2. Yes, they offer a conversion for more money. The converter they offer customers should have run correctly the first time. I also mentioned that the errors were found months later. It's not like i can re-run the converter right now. Who knows what it would do to the site. I don't want to sound like a massive jerk but i have just put in countless days of fixing up my forum and I'm still not done; I wouldn't even let IPB rep touch my site if they offered to fix things right now. The site has been set back enough and it doesn't need to be a guinea pig for another pet project let alone to forward a commercial venture for someone else. These types of things should be checked and sorted before they are sold to customers. After all, the converter is also part of their commercial package deal to lure users of other forum software into buying their product. I think what really irritates me is that is that i paid money for what is supposed to be a great piece of software that quickly turned into a quagmire.

As i mentioned earlier, If i could easily switch back to phpbb painlessly without affecting links that have been distributed on the net, and with little impact to my forum members, i would gladly do it.

3. Sure you can. The site has been converted for long enough. referrals from search engines have tanked. The thing is, IPB advertises itself as SEO ready.

4. Have you used phpbb3 lately? Don't knock it until you try it. It may not have any fancy ajax actions but it's actually quite good and the team have made big strides as of late. Never had a problem with it and i was the type of person a few years ago that would steer people clear of scripts the like of phpbb. Never had a major problem with it. As i mentioned earlier, they even have features that one would consider basic. Basic features that IPB still doesn't have.


Just a few minor questions.

- Did you 301-redirect your phpBB URLs to IPB's? Even then, how long has it been since you converted?
- Did you ask for help when you clearly needed it? Them converting for you is paid, but asking them for help when you have problems is not.
- I have used phpBB 3. There are a few free forum software options that I would use over it, to be honest (notably MyBB). By the way, not to offend you or anything, but what are the "basic features" that phpBB has that IPB doesn't?

#8 garyopa

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 12:29 AM

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. I'm unsure what happened to your original topic, but we do not typically make habit of just removing feedback unless it is unconstructive / ranting in nature.


http://community.inv...tmare-with-ipb/

We understand, like everything else in life, we're not a be-all solution for everyone. I'm sorry that your expectations were not met.

With that said, I was expecting to find several tickets on your account after a post like this, but was disappointed to find zero. As mentioned, we do have a conversion service and we would have assisted with your issues (with or without the fee.) You never gave us a chance and simply assumed the issue was faulty software. I apologize if you were led to believe we couldn't be of assistance, because... we could have helped. :)


Again, at the risk of sounding like a complete jerk, broken record or jerkish broken record; At this point, little can be done. I thought about opening a support ticket but nothing short of going through the threads one by one could realistically be done. As i mentioned, this isn't my first entrance into the wonder-less world of webmastering. Think about it for just a minute:

Months have passed and at least some topics have undoubtedly been replied do, edited etc; At least the ones just prior to closing down the forum, converting and re-opening. There are some threads that are perfectly valid links with full content missing. More importantly, some characters are missing from other posts. This means regardless, i would have to go through some of the posts by hand just to decipher and edit the posts to their appropriate (not original anymore) meanings. I already tried a number of ideas i had in my head including doing mass search and edits via phpmyadmin. It simply does come up with a constant pattern for any of my issues to justify doing a mass edit of the database. the garbled text in the [ list ] bb code is all different. All of the other garbled text is different as well. And i have already tried comparing older posts that show up just fine to older posts that do not properly show up. There seems to be no major distinguishable differences in the database even after doing a raw dump of individual posts.

So unless you have a 1.2 jiggawatts and a delorean. You can see i have quite an issue on my hands. I can fill out a support ticket but you and i both know at this point, there's little that can be done short of checking every thread by hand.

#9 garyopa

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 12:36 AM

Just a few minor questions.

- Did you 301-redirect your phpBB URLs to IPB's? Even then, how long has it been since you converted?
- Did you ask for help when you clearly needed it? Them converting for you is paid, but asking them for help when you have problems is not.
- I have used phpBB 3. There are a few free forum software options that I would use over it, to be honest (notably MyBB). By the way, not to offend you or anything, but what are the "basic features" that phpBB has that IPB doesn't?



-I could have done a 301 redir. IPB Offers a small set of php scripts that are appropriately named. They redirect old phpbb links to their ipb counterparts after the conversion.

- Read my post above.

- Read my previous posts. While they may seem petty to some. There are people like me that used those features on a daily basis. I also failed to mention that i used PHPBB3's "save as draft" feature. This allows you to save your post as a draft for submitting at another time. Great for saving news for a later date or writing extensive columns and/or posts. Instead, IPB gives you a little note taking box in the CP. yay.... :rolleyes:

I'm not even here to defend phpbb either. I'm just stating that i never had this many problems with it and their basic feature parities are not the same.

#10 3DKiwi

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 01:02 AM

As mentioned IP Content can be used to create portal blocks. You can however create your own custom portal blocks without IP Content and it's pretty easy to do. I have posted snippets of code on how to do this a few times.

Re search engine rankings. This would have come back in time. My site is ranked highly with Google so you can't blame the forum software.

Those of us that run large IPB forums usually set up a demo site prior to any major new version. It's a bit foolhardy to rush in upgrading a busy forum without testing it out with a copy of the database etc.

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#11 .Peter

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 01:26 AM

As mentioned IP Content can be used to create portal blocks. You can however create your own custom portal blocks without IP Content and it's pretty easy to do. I have posted snippets of code on how to do this a few times.

Re search engine rankings. This would have come back in time. My site is ranked highly with Google so you can't blame the forum software.

Those of us that run large IPB forums usually set up a demo site prior to any major new version. It's a bit foolhardy to rush in upgrading a busy forum without testing it out with a copy of the database etc.

3DKiwi


Also with the IP.Content and your comment about it being too complicated, it really isn't. It's complicating because it isn't restrictive like other CMS's... Most people when dealing with a CMS don't really expect to literally do anything that they wanted, they expect to be bound by limitations in the CMS making it simple. IP.Content is 100% customizable, and as you mentioned you didn't want another purchase with IPS. So as 3DKiwi mentioned adding blocks are quite easy and there are few mods out there such as the Unreal Portal Mod that allows alot more control over the Portal.

.Peter

New signature coming soon.





#12 3DKiwi

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 01:32 AM

My site (link in signature) is a good example of using the built in portal with a couple of IP Content created blocks and a manually created block. Pretty easy to do and I'm no coder.

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#13 AndyMillne

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 06:54 AM

Again, at the risk of sounding like a complete jerk, broken record or jerkish broken record; At this point, little can be done. I thought about opening a support ticket but nothing short of going through the threads one by one could realistically be done. As i mentioned, this isn't my first entrance into the wonder-less world of webmastering.


This simply isn't the case. The issue of posts appearing blank until edited sounds like something we may be able to repair even now (No Delorean required). Unless you submit a ticket however there is nothing we can do.
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#14 mat206

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 07:25 AM

-I could have done a 301 redir. IPB Offers a small set of php scripts that are appropriately named. They redirect old phpbb links to their ipb counterparts after the conversion.

- Read my post above.

- Read my previous posts. While they may seem petty to some. There are people like me that used those features on a daily basis. I also failed to mention that i used PHPBB3's "save as draft" feature. This allows you to save your post as a draft for submitting at another time. Great for saving news for a later date or writing extensive columns and/or posts. Instead, IPB gives you a little note taking box in the CP. yay.... :rolleyes:

I'm not even here to defend phpbb either. I'm just stating that i never had this many problems with it and their basic feature parities are not the same.



So 99% of your issues seem like either:

a) a conversion problem that you failed to submit support trouble tickets on
b) ignorance of the features of IP.Content and trusting that it is just "too hard". IP.Content has the article posting capabilities you want.. buy it. It's cheap.. and if you are really as good as you think you are, "too hard" is not going to be an issue.

As a fellow long time webmaster who has been online longer than the Internet has been public, I can tell you that this "NIGHTMARE" is mostly your own fault for not knowing how to use the software. This could have been a matter of not reading documentation about their different products and what they do, and DEFINITELY a product of not trying the demo that they offer for free. Now the IPS Staff would never say all that because they are professional about how they conduct their business AND support.. you NEED to take advantage of that when you have problems and not resort to spreading FUD about IPB.

Believe me, I get it that IPB software has issues from time to time.. but yours could have been resolved through trouble tickets. IPS support has been nothing short of fantastic from my experience.
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#15 Charles

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 07:27 AM

Our support department is here to help. You should really take advantage of their services :)

Andy (who posted here) does conversions all day everyday and could easily sort any issues you're having there for example.

Also, I looked at your site, and you're not using the mod_rewrite URL features of IPB SEO which will further enhance your SEO options. All these sort of things can be explained to you in support if the advanced features of IPB might be unfamiliar to you.
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#16 Axel Wers

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 07:47 AM

Long Time Webmaster, My NIGHTMARE With IPB

Hello, YES, I understand you. Really. The same nightmare is phpBB for me. It's very individual, someone like IPB but hates vBulletin, someone other like phpBB and hates IPB and someone other like vBulletin and hates both phpBB and IPB. Every can choose their way what is better for them. I certainly know that I won't leave IPB and start build community with phpBB or vBulletin. Simply, I don't like them, I don't understand them etc. They are better for someone, but for me not. Be patient.

FreeSpace - FreeSpace Forum - Twitter - Facebook - WebMiesto
 
Axel Wers, on 28 Nov 2012 - 7:22 PM, said:
iArcade should be regular app in IP.Suite. Currently IPB looks much more social network than common forum. And games are very popular in social networks.


#17 garyopa

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 07:51 AM

As mentioned IP Content can be used to create portal blocks. You can however create your own custom portal blocks without IP Content and it's pretty easy to do. I have posted snippets of code on how to do this a few times.

Re search engine rankings. This would have come back in time. My site is ranked highly with Google so you can't blame the forum software.

Those of us that run large IPB forums usually set up a demo site prior to any major new version. It's a bit foolhardy to rush in upgrading a busy forum without testing it out with a copy of the database etc.

3DKiwi


Thanks but at risk of sounding redundant. I think those kinds of features should be standard in a portal. At this point in my journey, i don't think i would purchase another IPB product. This wasn't a deal breaker for me, just a major disappointment. This really shouldn't even be considered a portal.

I've seen your posts and have visited your site before. Big thanks for the css code to truncate posts on the portal. another feature that is long overdue for it. :)

On to search engine rankings. To be fair, i moved to IPB because my rankings weren't very high to begin with. They aren't very high now. IPB advertises that is is SEO optimized out of the box. It clearly doesn't work for me. We can leave it at that. There are numerous posts on this subject already with more than enough complaints on the issue. I'm not the only one that believes that IPB really isn't SEO optimized at all.

Again, I will reiterate that i never "rushed into an upgrade". As i already mentioned, this isn't my first venture into website creation. I closed my site, converted and checked as many older posts as i humanly could. It was only months later that we found hundreds of random posts with errors. It's amazing how many comments there are trying to point the blame at another issue or the webmaster for a bad conversion. Maybe IPB should make a mention in their converter documentation that webmasters should look at every single post before reopening their forum. If i had zero life, psychic powers or some some of bot that could intelligently scour my site before reopening then i would have done that. The fact is, the converter didn't work correctly to begin with. If i could have somehow checked every single post on my forum for errors before opening and do it all in a timely manner, i would have done that by now.

#18 garyopa

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 08:51 AM

Our support department is here to help. You should really take advantage of their services :)

Andy (who posted here) does conversions all day everyday and could easily sort any issues you're having there for example.

Also, I looked at your site, and you're not using the mod_rewrite URL features of IPB SEO which will further enhance your SEO options. All these sort of things can be explained to you in support if the advanced features of IPB might be unfamiliar to you.



Nothing in the documentation states i needed that on in order for google or any other search engine to begin to rank my site higher. The options description in the forum admin cp is also quite vague. If you search for mod_rewrite in the official ipb documentation, it gives a page on IP Content, Not on IP Forums. That brings up another issue. The documentation for IP Board is quite vague. It doesn't hold a candle to the PhpBB documentation which is well organized and very detailed.

#19 irishbikerforum

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 08:56 AM

Dude, just submit a ticket. It wont get any worse, and in fairness to the support staff, they are quite good, and friendly too.

Nothing ventured / nothing gained.

Best wishes.
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#20 Charles

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 09:01 AM

I just don't know what you want us to say :(

I mean you're refusing to let us help you. All the issues you are describing are either because you are unfamiliar with our software and its features or there could be an actual issue we need to fix. Of course we can't identify any possible issues if you don't let us help you.

In the time you have been going on in this topic you could have sent in a support request and already had a reply from our staff or even had your issues resolved.

At this point you just seem to be moaning for the sake of moaning and aren't really interested in solutions. Both our staff and your fellow IPS customers have offered lots of suggestions here and you're just not interested so I don't see where this is really going than lots of fist-pounding... :ermm:

You're making a conscious decision to not let anyone here address your concerns so I'm at a loss.
  • Matt, mat206, AndyF and 10 others like this

Charles Warner
Invision Power Services, Inc. - President
charles.warner@invisionpower.com

 

Please do not PM me but feel free to contact me by email.





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